19th Sunday Year B
Theme of the week: As we journey to our heavenly home, God feeds us with heavenly bread to sustain us.
This the third week of our five-week reflection on the Holy Eucharist. On the first week (17th Sunday Year B), Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed the people. As miraculous the multiplying miracle was, last week (18th Sunday Year B), Jesus urged the people to look beyond physical food and yearn for heavenly food instead. He then went on to declare Himself as the Bread of Life. Notice how these Gospel passages gradually reveal the mystery of the Eucharist to us – Jesus first feed the people with physical bread, he then revealed himself to be the heavenly bread which gives life to the world.
In the First Reading this week, Elijah the Prophet was running for his life because he offended Jezebel, Queen of Ahab. In a situation similar to the manna-in-the-desert episode we heard two week ago, God gave Elijah food and drink to sustain him, so that he may reach Horeb, the mountain of God.
Continuing on the theme of God feeding his people, and following from the Gospel passage last week, in the Gospel this week, Jesus again declared Himself to be the Bread of Life (verse 48). Jesus revealed the mystery further by comparing heavenly bread with the earthly bread God gave to the Israelites in the desert. Whereas earthly bread sustains earthly life, Eucharist the heavenly bread sustains our spiritual life so that we will “live forever” (verse 51).
In the First Reading, God fed Elijah so that he may reach Horeb, the mountain of God. In the Gospel, these physical realities are presented to us again on a spiritual plain – God feeds us with the Holy Eucharist our spiritual food, to sustain us on our journey to our heavenly home.
The Church teaches us that the partaking of the Eucharist is a sign of us being an Eucharistic Community. The Second Reading teaches us the way to maintaining harmony in this Eucharistic Community. In the passage, Paul urges us to put away bitterness, wrath, anger, wrangling, slander and malice (verse 1:31); be kind, tender-hearted, forgiving to one another (verse 1:32); and most importantly “be imitators of God, … and live in love” (verse 5:1-2).
May the Bread of Life grant us peace in our hearts and sustain us on our spiritual journey. Amen.